atone·​ment ə-ˈtōn-mənt How to pronounce atonement (audio)
: reparation for an offense or injury : satisfaction
a story of sin and atonement
He wanted to find a way to make atonement for his sins.
: the reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ
Christian Science : the exemplifying of human oneness with God
obsolete : reconciliation

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Rituals of atonement and forgiveness lie at the heart of most religions, a testament to the human capacity for grace. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 7 Nov. 2022 Before that, John Paul II offered his atonement for a number of the church’s sins. Erin Cunningham, Washington Post, 26 July 2022 The High Holy Days are a time of prayer, reflection, repentance and atonement, with an emphasis on living a life pleasing to God. al, 5 Oct. 2022 Yom Kippur primarily centers around atonement and repentance. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 3 Oct. 2022 Rosh Hashanah alsocommemorates the beginning of the world, marking the start of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of atonement ending during Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism. Jason Gonzalez, The Courier-Journal, 22 Sep. 2022 The second is Yom Kippur, the day of atonement (sunset, Oct. 4). Amy Drew Thompson, Orlando Sentinel, 21 Sep. 2022 The queen's death at 96 on Sept. 8, has also renewed the conversation of the royal family's ties to colonialism and the queen's lack of apology or atonement. Jane Onyanga-omara, USA TODAY, 16 Sep. 2022 Yet the consequences of viewing restitution as a ritual of guilt and atonement, of self-purification through self-purgation, cannot be waved away. David Frum, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atonement.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


see atone

First Known Use

1513, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of atonement was in 1513

Dictionary Entries Near atonement

Cite this Entry

“Atonement.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



atone·​ment ə-ˈtōn-mənt How to pronounce atonement (audio)
: the return to a state of love and harmony between God and human beings through the death of Jesus Christ
: something that makes up for an offense or injury
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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